Love for blind tennis community honoured | Maribyrnong & Hobsons Bay – Maribyrnong Hobsons Bay Star Weekly

Williamstown resident Robert Fletcher has helped hundreds of other vision-impaired individuals realise their dreams of playing tennis.
He received the award for the Community Sportsperson of the Year at this year’s Disability Sport and Recreation Awards on Tuesday, November 8.
Mr Fletcher said he was “quite honoured” to be named among the award recipients.
Having established a blind tennis program at the Williamstown Bayside Tennis Club and currently the third seed in the B2 category of blind tennis, he said he has been a latecomer to the blind community after being diagnosed with Leber’s disease in his early 40s.
“I’ve got no central vision and only four per cent in my peripheral vision,” he said.
Having competed across the country as well as in Singapore, Mr Fletcher has helped Vision Australia conduct research to improve lives of people with low vision, has supported his fellow team members to travel to Singapore and has been active in educating the broader tennis community on inclusion.
Mr Fletcher said the Williamstown Bayside club has continued to grow recently with the support of coach James Wong, with their come and try sessions held every Tuesday morning from 9am to noon.
“We’re quite active,” he said.
“We’ve got wonderful facilities in the western suburbs.
“We’re always looking to start up new programs.”
Disability Sport and Recreation [DSR] programs and events manager Marshall James said there was a record number of nominations for this year’s event.
“We received an overwhelming number of quality nominations this year, making it very difficult for our judges to select finalists across each category,” he said.
“DSR enjoyed coming together to celebrate and award the winners for their outstanding dedication and achievements throughout the year.”
Mr Fletcher said anyone who is interested in playing blind tennis or any form of sport with a disability should know that they are welcome to come and try.
“I think blindness is an invisible disability,” he said.
“We don’t have crutches.”
Matthew Sims


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